TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Presidential electors from across the country met Monday to finalize the 2020 election and formally choose Joe Biden as the nation's next president.
Florida's electors met at 2 p.m. in Tallahassee and cast their votes for President Trump, who defeated Biden by about 371,000 votes. Florida has 29 electoral votes.
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Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, one of the state's three most-powerful political leaders, announced Monday morning that he tested positive for COVID-19 and would not attend the meeting of Florida electors.
Among the electors in Tallahassee was Peter Feaman of Boynton Beach. He is a Republican elector selected by the governor once Trump won the vote in Florida.
"People think the president is actually elected directly by the people, and that's not true. The president-elect is elected indirectly by the people through the electoral college," Feaman said.
It is a process that dates back to the founding fathers of the country.
In this case, Florida's electors voted for Trump, who won the state's vote on Election Day, in which 11 million Florida residents voted.
The winning party then selected their own electors, like Feaman, to vote for their candidate.
"It's a paper ballot, which you indicate and fill out," Feaman said. "This is the highest honor of my political life, in my opinion, to be one of Florida's 29 electors."
Other states are doing the same thing Monday, but with more drama where Democrat Joe Biden won, under pressure from those protesting the election results.
Professor Charles Zelden of Nova Southeastern University is an expert on the electoral college.
"In theory, they vote for their party, but in many states, they can vote for whoever they want," Zelden said.
However, he said it’s unlikely there will be any faithless electors or enough to overturn Biden's victory. That is something that Feaman said he faced in the previous presidential election.
"Four years ago, I received tens of thousands of letters urging me not to vote for the winner of the Florida election, but of course I did," he said.
All states in the electoral college are expected to seal Biden's victory over Trump, but the vote still has to be approved by Congress.
"At that point, a congressman and senator can challenge the vote, and then it's up to the House and Senate to determine whether to accept the challenge. Odds are it's not going to happen," Zelden said.
Biden won 306 electoral votes to 232 votes for Trump during the November election. It takes 270 votes to be elected. Biden topped Trump by more than 7 million votes this year.
"The reality is nobody really likes (the Electoral College). Maybe some small states like it because it gives them more clout for picking a president, but realistically nobody is a big fan of it," Zelden said.
However, getting rid of the Electoral College is not easy since it would require changing the Constitution.
"I think the Electoral College is important. The reason is because if we don't have the Electoral College, the entire campaign will take place in California, New York, Texas and Florida, and all of the smaller states will be completely forgotten," Feaman said.
Results of the Electoral College will be certified by Congress on Jan. 6.
Feaman, a Trump supporter, cast his vote for the president and said other electors need to follow their state's certified vote, even as Republicans continue to mount legal challenges to the election.
"I would say electors should follow the certification of their state, secretary of state, and if they disagree, that's why we have the courts," Feaman said.